Your home is your castle, and your furniture is a representation of who you are. You’d love to buy a house or apartment that just screams ‘this is me!’ Unfortunately, that’s not always possible. You’re restricted by things like budget, which means you might not get the size or neighbourhood that you want.
Other times, you pick your location based on proximity to work, or access to school districts rather than style of the house. This puts you at a disadvantage in terms of buying a house you feel at home in, or getting an area code you’re proud to show off. Luckily, you can still get the car or phone that fully expresses your personality.
Also, the housing situation is not completely beyond help. The house itself may be a lost cause, but you can still get furniture that displays your individual character and quirks. Yes, the ‘right’ furniture is expensive, but you could buy vintage, or you could just rent. Rental home appliances can cost about 10% of buying price.
When you’re looking for a house or apartment, it’s all about location, but when you’re thinking furniture rental, it’s more a matter of time. If your furniture is hired at one tenth of the purchase price, then within a year, you’ve covered the cost of buying it. However, within that year, the cost may have gone up (or down, depending on market forces), so if you just want to rent for a month or two, then renting makes sense.
If it’s a more long term arrangement of several years, it’ll cost you more than buying. Still, this assumes you have a lump sum to do the buying. If you can’t get hold of the other 90% of the cash, then renting is a more pocket-friendly way of getting once stuff in your house. Of course you could always just buy the thing and put it on your credit card. But you need to check your interest rates. They could end up being double the rental price, or more.
Are you good at saving? If you can put some cash aside every week or month, then you can eventually gather enough cash to buy the furnishings and appliances you want. But … what will you do in the meantime? Again, this depends on your personal philosophy. Are you okay using a sleeping bag or futon for 6 months while you save up for a bed … or would you rather rent the bed until you’re in a position to buy one?
In some cases, renting can encourage you to buy faster. You’ll think about the amount of cash going to your furniture every week or month and it will prompt you to get your finances together and buy, quick. Another factor is your living situation. If you live alone, you might not mind sleeping on the floor and sitting on milk crates, but if you have kids, a spouse, or a boyfriend/girlfriend that you’d like to hold on to, renting furniture is kind of essential.
If you’re an expat or a volunteer in a foreign country, it makes more sense to rent. You’ll be at your current location for a few months, two years at the most. You don’t have time to lay roots, so the expense of buying furniture isn’t really practical.
Of course you could always sell it when you leave, or buy it second hand from someone that’s on their way out, but then you’d have to do the same when the visa runs out. It’s a hassle, and you’ll sell your stuff at a loss, so it’ll still cost you. Besides, many expats and foreigners get a per diem or house allowance, so you can put that toward furniture rental.
The reason phone plans are so popular is you can get upgrade every year. You always have the latest phone, and it doesn’t cost you more than you’d ordinarily pay on your usage bill. This same principle can be applied to furniture. Many rental deals include maintenance and have a clause for swaps.
When you get tired of your current décor, or if you want to impress a hot date, a new boss, or visiting in-laws, you can simply order a whole new set. Your furniture rental will pick up the old stuff, replace it, and even arrange it. You won’t have to lift a finger except to make that call, and you’ll essentially have a whole new set of furniture at the marginal cost of a rental swap or upgrade. It’s good value for money – momentarily at least.
So … can renting furniture save you money? Yes, if you have a migrant lifestyle and will only use the furniture for a few weeks or months, or if your employer / host is paying a monthly accommodation stipend. At most, rent your appliances and furnishings for a year. Any longer than that and you’re better off buying, even if it’s a flea market or garage sale purchase.